Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2013 February 16
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Sweeping Through Southern Skies
Image/Video Credit & Copyright: Alex Cherney (Terrastro, TWAN)

Explanation: For now, Comet Lemmon (C/2012 F6), and Comet PanSTARRS (C/2011 L4) are sweeping through southern skies. Lemmon's lime green coma and thin tail are near the left edge of this telephoto scene, a single frame from a timelapse video (vimeo here) recorded on February 12, tracking its motion against the background stars. Comet Lemmon's path brought it close to the line-of-sight to prominent southern sky treasures the Small Magellanic Cloud and globular cluster 47 Tucanae (right). Sporting a broader, whitish tail, Comet PanSTARRS appears in later video frames moving through the faint constellation Microscopium. Visible in binoculars and small telescopes, both comets are getting brighter and headed toward northern skies in coming months.

Videos & Discussion: Russian Meteor Explosion
Tomorrow's picture: on the horizon

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